Religious Wars Lecture I

History M01B - Krister Swanson - Moorpark College


Reformation+Politics = Religious Wars

  • 4 basic conflicts:
  • French
  • Spanish & Dutch
  • English & Spanish
  • 30 Years War
  • Religious tolerance only where rulers put religion behind politics

Calvinists vs. RCs

  • Calvinists clash with RCs rejuvenated by CR
  • Calvinists localize, RC’s centralize (rel & pol)
  • Calvinists like simple & straightforward (Wren), RCs like elaborate (Baroque)
  • 1559- Haps-Val Wars end, internal conflict starts w/ death of Henry II...

The French Conflict begins

  • Guises (RC) vs. Bourbons (H)
  • Many powerful French resist Guise monarchy by joining Huguenots (2/5 of aristocracy)
  • Catherine (mother of young kings) wants RC France but fears Guise power
  • 1562- Duke of Guise massacres Protestants at Vassy & begins…

French wars of religion (H’s v. CL)

  • Coligny wants Charles IX to invade Netherlands to help Prot. Cause (fighting Phillip II)
  • Catherine tells king Hugs are attempting a coup è Prot. Leaders must die è
  • St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre (8/24/1572):
  • 3,000 Hugs are killed in Paris, 20,000 more w/in next few days
  • Pope Gregory XIII & Phillip II of Spain cheer (France withdraws from Netherlands)

Protestant Reaction

  • Prots think “fight to the death”
  • forget “obedience to worldly authority”
  • John Knox is leading voice in Calvinist resistance

Henry III (1574-1589)

  • Tries to take middle ground with help of politiques (Peace of Beaulieu in 1576)
  • 1587: CL forces him back into fight against Huguenots led by Henry of Navarre
  • 1588: Henry III has duke & cardinal of Guise killed (plotting against him), Henry III allies w/ Navarre
  • 1589: Henry III is assassinated

Henry IV Brings Peace

  • Henry of Navarre becomes Henry IV (married to Henry III’s sister), Pope Sixtus V and Phillip II freak out
  • Spain directly helps CL
  • Henry IV decides to embrace RC, provides  tolerance with the Edict of Nantes
  • Edict: Huguenots are free to worship, assemble, go to universities and public places, and fortify towns
  • CL breaks up - Henry IV sets stage for absolutism of Louis XIV by rebuilding France with the Duke of Sully

The Dutch Revolt

  • The Netherlands (wealthy & valuable)is under Haps control
  • 1550s: independent towns, increasingly Calvinist (threat to Ch. & St.)
  • Phillip II is at height of power (wealth from NW, control of Med., efficient bureaucracy, patron)
  • depends on Neth. for $$$ & staging point for invasion of England (vs. Elizabeth)

Phillip II Goes to Work

  • 1561- Cardinal Granvelle sent in to centralize Ch. & gov’tèWm. of Orange leads resistance, unrest grows, Granville forced out
  • 1567- Phillip II sends troops & Alba to collect taxes and wipe out Protestants (says he’s enforcing Trent)
  • Alba executes thousands but brute force doesn’t work

Orange Returns from Exile

  • Spanish win battles, Dutch hang in w/ piracy, guerilla war & English help
  • Violence grows worse, Calvinist ministers encourage killing of Spaniards, leading Prots are tortured & executed
  • Spanish Fury (1576) è union of lower 10 + upper 7 provinces (Pacification of Ghent)
  • Spanish withdraw in 1577
  • 1579- Spain regains control in south (becomes modern day Belgium) who fear Calvinist extremists, the Treaty of Arras takes southern 10 out of revolt

Northern Provinces fight on

  • 1579- Northern 7 form Union of Utrecht, can’t agree on ruler
  • Spain keeps trying to regain control, Phillip also busy with France & England (he’s overextended)
  • 1581- Dutch declare Ind., Orange is killed in 1584 - son takes reins
  • 1588- Phillip sends Armada vs. Dutch & English, it fails
  • Finally in 1648 Peace of Westphalia recognizes Dutch Republic